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What are Hand Augers?

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden

Hand augers are drill-like devices used for boring holes and for removing materials from cylindrical holes. There are many different kinds of augers that can be used for many different purposes, from woodworking to drilling holes in the ice for fishing. While some augers are motorized for heavy-duty use, such as cutting through ice that is several feet thick, hand augers are powered only by the person using them. Though hand augers are much lighter and more portable than their motorized counterparts, they tend to take far more effort and energy to use. They are also significantly less expensive and easier to find, making them much more common.

Augers come in many different shapes and sizes depending on the tasks they are intended for. Some augers used for woodworking can be less than an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and can be operated by hand with relative ease. Other kinds of augers are used in construction to bore and clear out massive holes in tough materials, and are often attached to vehicles for transportation. Ice fishermen make extensive use of both motorized augers and hand augers, though hand augers are more popular among fishermen because of their weight and portability.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Learning to use a hand auger can be difficult, as many first-time ice fishermen have discovered as they struggle to drill their first hole in a frozen lake. With practice, however, it is not a terribly difficult task. First, it is essential that the blades of the auger are sharp, as a dull auger will take far more effort to use. Next, one must be sure that the area in which he intends to use the auger is clear, as some debris could damage the auger or impede its use. After the auger is sharp and the area is clear, one may begin to use the auger.

To drill a hole with the auger, one must apply pressure to the knob at the top of the handle with one hand and turn the handle with the other hand. Applying the downward pressure is of the utmost importance; an auger is unlikely to dig into the material being drilled into if pressure is not strongly applied. To ensure that the hole drilled is straight, one should take his time and focus on keeping the auger straight. Hand augers can be somewhat unstable when not used carefully, and in some cases, a messy or angled hole is not acceptable.

To remove the material that was drilled through, hand augers can be pulled straight out of the hole. The auger's helical flighting will contain the material and it will pull out of the hole with the auger. Sometimes, hand augers can get stuck in the holes they drill. If this happens, turning them in the opposite direction a few times will typically loosen them and allow them to be pulled out.

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